CAP reform: ‘The environment committee should not take the lead’

The European Parliament Environment Committee should not take the lead with regard to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to the president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Patrick Kent.

Kent stated that he is “very concerned” at reports that the environment committee is lobbying for increased control over the parliament’s position on CAP reform.

Also Read: EU agri and enviro committees in ‘power struggle’ over CAP

Commenting on the issue, he said: “While the ICSA is in favour of CAP rewarding farmers who go the extra mile on biodiversity or climate change actions, it is essential that decisions are made by those who best understand the farming perspective.

“In our view, what is the point of a European Parliament Agriculture Committee if it is not to analyse and improve EU Commission proposals?

This is not to say that the viewpoint of the environment committee should be side-lined, but – on the other hand – this committee should not be the lead committee on CAP strategy or any element of the CAP reform dealing with payments to farmers.

“The European Parliament Environment Committee took a very extreme position on biofuels, which was detrimental to crop-based biofuels grown by EU farmers.

“This is just one example of how it is important that dossiers which are vital to farmers are handled by committees that specialise in and understand complex agricultural issues,” Kent said.

The ICSA understands that a decision on which committee will have control over drafting the European Parliament’s position on the reform of the CAP is expected this week.

Because of this, the ICSA has reportedly lobbied in Brussels in order to keep CAP reform under the umbrella of the agriculture committee, the farmers’ group has said.